Dilemma: A99 vs new Olympus E-M1

Started Sep 4, 2013 | Discussions thread
Dennis
Forum ProPosts: 14,119
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Comparing the wrong thing
In reply to Kwick1, Sep 5, 2013

Kwick1 wrote:

I used to love the a900 - probably the best ergonomics of any camera I've handled. And I absolutely love Zeiss glass.

As I said the Zeiss glass is also huge - I'd be buying the 24-70, 85/1.4 and the 70-300G for wildlife (yes, I know not Zeiss, just G, but I don't want the weight of the 70-400).

Total weight for all that? Just under 7 lbs, not including extra batteries.

With high-end m 4/3 glass (their new Olympus "Pro" 2.8 24-80 equiv lens, the Panny 35-100 2.8 and the Panny/Leica 25/1.4). Yeah, not Zeiss, but pretty damn good.

Total weight for all that? Estimated 2.9 lbs. Big difference.

So here's the thing that I think is all wrong in the comparison.  You're choosing the best lenses for each system, when you don't need anything remotely like the best lenses on a FF body to match the capabilities of the small sensor system.

You can use smaller, slower lenses, and just increase the ISO on the A99 when needed.  (And when not needed, enjoy all the benefits of the FF system).

So if you're interested in the A99, you don't need the relatively big, heavy 24-70/2.8 to match the 12-40 on the Oly ... 24-105 would do just fine.  (And don't sweat the optics; 24MP FF is not nearly as demanding as 16MP m43).  85/1.4 is serious overkill versus 25/1.4 on m43; a 50/2.8 would be an equivalent match, while the 85/1.4 gives you tremendously shallower DOF.  The cheap, compact, light weight 85/2.8 would be a fine alternative, and again, despite the far-from-Zeissness of it, would result in image files that would easily trounce what you get with a smaller sensor.

You'll still end up with a bigger, heavier kit, and end up using lenses that lack some of the "joy" of the high end lenses you were considering.  (You *could* actually end up with a cheaper kit ... I think that's going to be the great irony in another couple years ... that coupled with cheaper, slower lenses, FF systems are going to be more affordable than equivalent m43 systems).

So - no advice for you, except to consider compromises in the FF lineup.  You have a lot of room between the systems you've proposed.

- Dennis

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